Case Study

Assistive robots for mobility disability to support daily living activities


According to the CDC, 12.1% of adult Americans have a mobility disability severe enough to impact daily living [1]. Main factors for mobilitiy disabilities include: injury, genetic condition, and the process of aging.

Akin's partner, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) is a for-purpose organization working for people living with spinal cord injury.

Their activities include:

  • Community building for people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs),
  • Support for participants with engaging the NDIS and other disability support organizations,
  • Advocacy for across the board change.

[1] Disability Impacts All of Us, CDC

The Challenge

SCIA (Spinal Cord Injuries Australia) sought to improve the independence, social connection, and effectiveness of delivered services for its members and saw AI as a key opportunity in helping achieve this.

From a reliance on external support workers, to limited service reach and challenges with planning support for activities of daily living – SCIA was seeking technology solutions that would help improve service outcomes and more importantly, assist in empowering independence and dignity for its members.

How Akin Helped

Through the partnership with SCIA, Akin undertook a process of years of participatory co-design, working alongside people with lived experience of mobility disability (for example Cerebral Palsy, Spinal cord injuries) on use cases around assistance at home and work.

Akin identified a number of key use cases that Akin’s AI technology could be applied to empower mobility augmentation.
These include:

  • Picking items off the floor,
  • Moving lightweight objects,
  • Retrieving items from high shelves,
  • Monitoring posture and physiological state like blood pressure.

Akin's developed solutions to help SCIA’s members address these challenges are twofold:

1. Akin’s HeyPixi is an interactive AI and dashboard that supports activities of daily living for people with mobility disability. Supports include:

  • Tracking goals and outcomes,
  • Managing support workers, meals, task lists, case notes,
  • Coaching and support for therapy,
  • Facilitating remote communications.

2. Akin’s Cupcake is an AI powered companion robot that acts as an embodiment to monitor SCIA members and handle tasks. Cupcake functions with high levels of cognitive ability and emotional intelligence. Functions include:

  • Retriving objects,
  • Performing simple physical tasks,
  • Embodying therapy delivery,
  • Human State and Environmental Monitoring.

“Akin installed in the home has been phenomenal because it's taken away the guesswork with everything.”

Daniel Holt,
Peer & Social Support Team Leader, NDIS